NC Politics in the News

April 13, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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THE FERN: North Carolina food bank scrambles to feed the hungry
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina distributed 82 million pounds of food last year, through 900 local agencies, including religious groups, senior centers, and homeless and domestic-violence shelters. But now it’s scrambling to find food, and the volunteers to deliver it to people in need, many of them seniors, Barry Yeoman writes in FERN’s latest story.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: As the coronavirus spreads, the craft beer economy faces a shakeup
Fullsteam Brewery sits on the outskirts of downtown Durham in a low, beige-brick building with enormous red hangar doors. But things changed rapidly since the first coronavirus case in North Carolina was announced on March 3. Bars and restaurants have closed with some, like Fullsteam, opting to shift to curbside takeout. It feels like nothing’s the same.

Economic Development

WWAY 3: North Carolina Tech Company To Create Close to 1,200 New Jobs
A North Carolina company that sells software to technology firms for voice and message applications plans to create nearly 1,200 jobs in the state over the next eight years. The news comes as Bandwidth Inc. and the state unveiled plans for $103 million in capital investment while the company expands its Raleigh headquarters and operations. The company is currently located on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus.

WNCT 9: Economic Development Department Small Business Assistance for local businesses in Carteret County
The Carteret County Economic Development Department is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and other federal, state and local economic development partners to provide the most up-to-date and relevant resource information to the local business community.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC schools want lawmakers to suspend student testing requirements due to pandemic
North Carolina lawmakers are being asked to help the state’s public schools get through the coronavirus crisis by temporarily suspending requirements on student testing, school grading and teacher licensure renewal. The State Board of Education approved Thursday a lengthy list of waivers from state law that it says are needed because schools can’t function the way they normally would due to the pandemic. 

ABC 11: Nearly $200 million will go to North Carolina college students hurting financially due to COVID-19, Sen. Tillis says
Sen. Thom Tillis announced North Carolina college students will receive some cash to help mitigate the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a news release, Tillis said the U.S. Department of Education will give $378 million to colleges and universities in North Carolina, $189 million of which will go directly to students.


WCNC: North Carolina prisons enact two-week halt on accepting new offenders
This new modified operations plan is in effect a “stay at home order” for the vast majority of the offenders in the state prison system from April 7 to April 21.To stop the spread of coronavirus, the North Carolina Division of Prisons will not accept offenders from the county jails and will dramatically reduce the transfers of offenders within the prisons for the next 14 days, effective at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Newly unemployed have health insurance options, but must act quickly 
Nearly 540,000 North Carolinians have filed claims for unemployment-insurance benefits in less than a month, a somber and record ripple effect from the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant number of applicants have seldom, if ever, been without employer health-insurance coverage in their work careers.

WFAE: NC Health Care Workers Not Immune To Coronavirus Furloughs, Layoffs 
After hospitals and doctors offices across North Carolina canceled nonessential procedures and in-person appointments because of the coronavirus pandemic, many nurses and medical staff were laid off or had their hours reduced. “It’s definitely not the situation you might think would happen during a pandemic,” said North Carolina Nurses Association CEO Tina Gordon. 


WITN: Gov. Cooper’s new social distancing order goes into effect at 5 p.m. 
There are going to be tighter restrictions on how many people will be allowed inside a business beginning Monday at 5 p.m. This is part of Governor Roy Cooper’s new executive order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooper says stores cannot have more than 20 percent of their fire code capacity inside at one time. All stores also have to mark a six feet distance point at places people might be closer together, such as check out lines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC nears 500,000 unemployment claims as it promises fixes to application process
North Carolina officials have approved nearly $30 million worth of unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs due to coronavirus. And even more money is on the way as federal benefits should soon kick in, too. With an average of 21,000 people filing for unemployment every day in the three weeks since coronavirus-related closures began, North Carolina is on track to surpass 500,000 jobless claims by the end of this week.


WRAL TECH WIRE: NSF seeks proposals for $200M in federal grants – here’s how to apply
Research and development goes on despite the COVID-19 pandemic with a new funding cycle beginning for federal grants. The National Science Foundation’s next SBIR/STTR Phase I submission window is now open—North Carolina life science startups can apply to receive a piece of $200 million in funding available to develop scientific technologies with commercial potential.


WCTI 12: Onslow County nonprofit providing free transportation for essential activities
A private non-profit agency that coordinates transportation for Onslow human services agencies and provides general public transportation will soon offer a new fare-free public transportation service to help eligible Onslow County residents with transportation for certain essential activities during the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday,Onslow United Transit System says that includes trips to work, the grocery store, medical and/or critical destinations allowed by Governor Roy Cooper’s Stay at Home Order.

THE SENTINEL: Traffic drop from stay-at-home orders imperils road funding
America’s roads are a lot less congested, due to coronavirus shutdowns that have kept millions of commuters, shoppers and vacationers parked at their homes. While that makes it easier to patch potholes, it also could spell trouble for road and bridge projects. The longer motorists remain off the roads, the harder it will be for states to afford repairs in the months and years ahead.